Friday, November 8, 2013

Normalized Torture Not Just for Terrorists Any More

I'm sure most of you have seen this horrific story. The victim is suing, and with luck he will soon own the hospital, the county government and the homes and future incomes of the cops, judges and "doctors" who demanded, allowed and performed repeated anal torture on him for the crime of rolling through a stop sign.

But there's much, much more to this story.

Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns and Money:

Obviously, in an even moderately just universe all of the police and medical personnel involved would have been relieved of their duties and be facing criminal charges. But another major culprit here is the magistrate who issued the warrant. Granted, the police and doctors appear to have gone beyond its technical terms. But, still, the idea that failing to come to a full stop and clenching one’s buttocks constitutes the “probable cause” the Constitution requires for a warrant for this kind of search is absurd. Law enforcement acted abominably here, but they did so in part because the magistrate failed. (Incidentally, this is one reason that that conservatives on the Supreme Court were dead wrong to exempt legal errors by magistrates from the exclusionary rule. Evidence obtained through an illegal warrant should not be admissible even if the officers were acting in “good faith,” although of course here everyone was acting in bad faith.)

Witnesses have seen U.S. Special Forces commit war crimes in Afghanistan.

The border patrol will continue shooting dead the people who throw rocks at them.
The JSOC war crimes, featuring gratuitous and unnecessary torture that turned innocent villagers into rabid insurgents, are documented in Jeremy Scahill's brilliant and devastating book Dirty Wars.

The militarization of American law enforcement, featuring gratuitous and unnecessary violence and torture that turns law-abiding citizens into rabid cop-haters, is documented in Radley Balko's shocking book Rise of the Warrior Cop.

But the nation-destroying stupidity continues.


There is a price we've all paid for normalizing torture in our society, whether it's through the "comic" use of electricity via the taser or our blase attitude toward the torture regime of George W. Bush. I don't think the scope of just how much we destroyed the basic moral fabric of our culture will be seen for many decades.

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